STUDY: Mindfulness-based interventions for managing professional stress and burnout

Mark Costa

Assistant Research Professor,

Mindfulness-based interventions are an increasingly popular approach to help diverse groups of professionals, including teachers, nurses, active duty military, and veterans, manage stress and professional burnout, while simultaneously improving focus and empathy. We wanted to test whether using a mindfulness-based intervention would help reduce teacher attrition, which is a nationwide problem. Novice teachers leave the profession at alarming rates. In some districts, over thirty percent of teachers quit within their first few years.

Although mindfulness-based interventions work, getting individuals to stick to the individual and group training sessions is difficult because of the time and travel commitments. Mindfulness-based interventions also have trouble scaling because of the lack of qualified instructors. Our plan is to address the challenges associated with mindfulness interventions by supporting individual and group mindfulness sessions with virtual reality, making it easier for teachers to participate remotely. With virtual reality, we can provide a sense of connection associated with being in a group setting while cutting out the travel time. Our goal is to increase participation in the program and ultimately reduce teacher attrition by giving them the tools they need to manage stress in a healthy manner.

This study has received a 2019 CUSE Grant.